I collected a lot of seeds last summer from my 'Species Red' cannas that I got from Karchesky. I never did manage to dig up my plants and bring them inside, thanks to all the chaos with my mom in the hospital. Even though we had a fairly mild winter, I'll be surprised if the parent plants survived our zone 6 winter.
After finding some useful information on the Gardenweb about Canna germination, I took several seeds, gripped each one tightly, and rubbed it on 220 grit sandpaper until I could see a little bit of white. I put all of these "nicked" seeds into a glass of water. This was only a few days ago. By the next day they started to swell noticeably, and now they're starting to sprout, pale shoots poking through their hard, outer husks.
I'm going to put them in potting soil and see if I can get any to flowering size this summer.
Has anyone else had success growing cannas from seed that they harvested from their own cannas? Did they flower the same season?
Kristin, I've grown cannas from seed, altho not from my own plants. I used a nail file to abrade each seed on opposite sides, then soaked them like you did. They sprouted quickly & were fun to grow, but they didn't manage to bloom in the same year - my coolish climate doesn't promote fast growth for heat lovers like cannas.
USDA Zone 8b
Heat Zone 3
Sunset Zone 5
SeaTac, WA...one cool place
They can bloom the first year. Last year my neighbor and I both had seedlings come up at the end of May and these were blooming by August. The plants were nearly as big as the ones grown from corms, but still - flowers. With the head start you are giving them they should get quite a bit larger.
I grew cannas from seed last year (thanks, Karchesky!). Despite a late start, they all flourished even in our drought, flowering,producing seeds and multiple plantlets. The Robert Kemps produced the most seed. I left the rhizomes in the ground, and I will dig one up next week to see how it looks. The seed route is definitely a viable and economical option for those of us in colder zones.
Thanks, everyone. The germination looks to be 100%, or close to it. I don't know if these will end up being hybrids with my "Wisley Dwarf," but all the seeds themselves came from the 'Species Red." If my cannas didn't make it, it's good to know I'll have replacements that have a chance of blooming by late summer. We do tend to be cloudy here, but the location where they'll be is pretty sunny, and warmer on average than the Pacific Northwest. Your comments are encouraging.
Penny, I had to chuckle at your entry. Take a look at the last three words. I had to become a cryptographer to read them.
O = I, w = w, m = n, t = t, e = e, r = r, s = s, and / = .
Looks like you were saying "..even the ones I winter sow." Funny the gibberish that comes out when your right hand slides one key over!
I'm sure Steve will clarify this for himself, but I'm betting the purple refers to the leaves. I don't think canna flowers come in purple, but the leaves certainly can.
On second thought, (thank goodness for that edit feature) are you teasing us, Steve? I just did a google search. By a different kind of Canna, do you perhaps mean cana, with one "n" as in Agastache cana? There is a 'Purple Pygmy' Agastache in existence. Is this what you're talking about?
This message has been edited by Kristinbirds on Mar 12, 2008 4:34 PM
I just dug up a couple of cannas, and the rhizomes look fresh, nice and plump. So I am assuming they made it alright over winter, and barring abnormal weather in the next few weeks, they should be OK. I just wish the Black and Blues fare as well.
Priya, you now have me wondering about mine. Last winter they did not return, but that was last winter. In a way I'm hoping they don't because they were enough to contend with as they were and there is a big pile in the basement. There have been a few years in the past decade or so when they came back really strong in my neighbors yard, and they were the same as these. I need a bulldozer.
Kristin, why did you tell Penny that? Penny's posts can be very inventive sometimes and that is part of the fun. I usually have my fingers on the right keys but when it comes to spelling have absolutely no idea which ones to push.
Oh my how I wish! Am having such trouble getting these ready to even put in the soil. They have successfully evaded being knicked by anything I have tried using to get they started...like I posted on another thread - seedlings I think. Anyhow since Penny can get them to grow and bloom for seed I will keep on trying. Just have to find some rough sandpaper first I guess...Of course I did get one to start last year then it died. I had some left and will try again. But I won't give up.
Carol, a nail file works pretty good too. It's a bit time consuming, but I sat in front of the TV last night and filed my....canna seeds. My seeds are a year old & I swear the shells were harder than the last time I did this (oh, different cultivar, too). But I filed thru the hard outer shell on 2 sides of each seed. I wouldn't want to do this to very many seeds at one time, but I had only 6 Tall Russian seeds to start.
USDA Zone 8b
Heat Zone 3
Sunset Zone 5
SeaTac, WA...one cool place
No apologies necessary, Penny. I rather enjoy the occasional foray into gibberish. It's kind of fun trying to figure out what those words are supposed to be.
Now spelling's a different matter altogether. If I picked on every typo and misspelled word on this forum (including my own) I'd probably be asked to leave the forum, and rightly so. What an annoying waste of time that would be. As long as you can tell what the person means, they should probably be left alone. Occasionally, I get the urge to say something about words that get misspelled repeatedly like F-U-C-H-S-I-A, a word that maybe only one in four of us spells correctly. Nowadays, with spell checking software, I've also noticed that writing is just full of the wrong homophones -- they're/their/there, sight/site, pare/pair, etc. Spell check doesn't even notice. This is common even in newspapers. So much for spell check.
Carol, there was quite a bit of discussion on the Gardenweb forums about the best way to nick Canna seeds. I just gripped them very tightly between thumb and forefinger and rubbed them vigorously back and forth on the sandpaper. I work with my hands a lot, so I probably have better than average grip strength in my fingers. I think the 220 grit worked well. If it had been more coarse, I don't think I could have hung onto the seed. Still, after a dozen seeds or so, I had worn part of the skin off my thumb. Ouch! To avoid this, someone suggested gripping them with a pair if pliers or vice grips and rubbing them with a file or back and forth onto sandpaper. Someone else said they used a toe nail clipper successfully. If I had to do more of them, I'd probably get some pliers. I urge you to try. Mine are sprouting quite nicely only 6 days later. I'll probably be taking them out of their glass of water and putting them in small pots today or tomorrow.
Sometime in the past I had to make a choice - either write or spell, because for me they are mutually exclusive. Through many years effort I've managed to master fuchsia, although I still find it easier to grow than spell. When it comes to small hard seeds and very sharp knives I'll leave that to the few and the brave. Shouldn't these seeds sprout by themselves in a hot bed?
Yikes! I'm not on blood thinners, but that serrated knife idea sounds a little scary. Those round seeds are hard to hang onto, and I can just see one shifting suddenly and the knife along with it. Maybe it would be safer to put each one in a vise and saw with a hacksaw blade. I'll bet that would work quickly.
I think I also read on that Gardenweb thread that they don't absolutely need to be nicked, it's just that it helps them germinate much more quickly.
Patrick and Kristin--- sorry to answer so late, but yes it is the Agastache version, as I said its not the same as you guys were referring to.
Heat zone 6
Sunset zone 35
joan garvey (Login janselmo) Hummingbird lover 2007
Re: Canna Seeds sprouting
March 13 2008, 11:01 PM
I managed to nick my seeds with a serrated knife, not a razor-sharp knife, a serrated knife, which requires a sawing motion and did not lose a finger or a drop of blood. I can't imagine putting each seed in a vise; it really wasn't that hard to do.
This message has been edited by janselmo on Mar 14, 2008 10:08 AM
I'm sure it is possible to do safely, just gives me the willies to think about what could happen if you did it carelessly. The vise wouldn't be as hard as you might think, but I would probably just use some pliers and sandpaper if I had to do a bunch. The sandpaper works rather quickly.
On March 7th, I sanded 21 seeds until I could see a bit of white, (plus a bit of pink on my thumb!) and then put them all in a small glass of warm water. I put the glass in our little bathroom where it gets quite warm. As of a couple of days ago, 5 were showing small sprouts, so I planted them about 1/4" deep in peat pots in seed starter mix. I imagine it will be several days or even a week or two before they start actually popping up out of the soil.
The rest of the seeds were getting a little slimy, so I emptied the glass and gently rubbed off the slime under a stream of water from the faucet. I put them in some fresh water, and back to the bathroom they went. I was starting to wonder if they would ever sprout.
I am delighted to report that today, exactly 8 days from when they were first nicked and soaked, all of the remaining seeds are sprouting. That's 100% germination. Yippee! I thought I might only get half, but here I am with the potential for 21 cannas, and no place to put that many plants. I suppose I could sell them locally, if they do well, but most people like big, showy cannas, and these are offspring of 'Species Red.'
Would anyone like any? I imagine if I put them in a ziplock with a moist paper towel, and into a padded envelope, they would probably survive a 2-3 day trip in the mail. The only problem would be if they got exposed to freezing temps on an airplane or cold mail truck, something I've no control of. Otherwise, they should make it OK. You'd need to plant them immediately in soil when you got them.
I think I could spare as many as 8, which still leaves me with plenty for insurance. I could send all to one person, or maybe 4 each to two different people.
Any takers for pre-nicked, pre-soaked, pre-sprouted 'Species Red' derived canna seeds?
Wow - thats great information, thanks to all who suggested some very good tips on knicking the seeds with sandpaper, serrated knife, etc, I will have to try again tomorrow and see what works. Hmmmm I have tried warm water but not a thermos... and I really like the vice idea...I think I can manage a small one. Its just good to know I'm not the only one having difficulty. Will let you know later.... Thanks!
I have a love/hate relationship with my Canna indica. Sometimes it grows well and other times it doesn't. I can't seem to over winter the rhizomes all that well. I've tried to grow seeds with no success.
It led me to search the forums for some information on this plant. I found this thread. I pulled 9 canna indica seeds from my stash. I nicked and cut their coat with a knife. I put them in a thermos with warm water that I change twice a day. Not quite a week has passed and I am pleased to announce that I have one starting to sprout! This small success has made me so happy!